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Muttiah Muralitharan to wait and watch

Muttiah Muralitharan lavished praise on how Virat Kohli and his teammates have been performing over the last few years

By Sayak Banerjee in Calcutta
  • Published 5.01.20, 4:25 AM
  • Updated 5.01.20, 4:50 AM
  • a min read
Muttiah Muralitharan File picture

India are overwhelming favourites in the three-match T20I series versus Sri Lanka. But that doesn’t mean India will be the favourites going into the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year, feels Muttiah Muralitharan.

“The T20 World Cup is still some time away. The tournament will be played in Australia, so it’s difficult to pick the favourites in those conditions,” the spin legend told The Telegraph from Colombo on Saturday.

“Definitely, India will be one of the favourites, but you never know about the conditions… Also, it depends on the squad India will pick. But having said that, still many months left for the T20 World Cup,” he added.

The former off-spinner, now a member of the Sunrisers Hyderabad coaching staff, however, lavished praise on how Virat Kohli and his team-mates have been performing over the last few years.

“Of course, India have been doing fantastically well by winning most of the matches. Unfortunately, they couldn’t qualify for the World Cup final. Barring that defeat to New Zealand in the semi-final, they have been consistent,” Muralitharan said.

Talking about the current Sri Lankan side’s chances in the series versus India that starts in Guwahati on Sunday, Muralitharan said: “Actually, I haven’t seen much of this Sri Lankan side, so it’s a bit difficult for me to analyse. I’m not too familiar with the current state of affairs.

“But yeah, India are obviously a far stronger team and on top of that, they are playing at home. Of course, they have a better chance than us.”

Sri Lanka, though, come off a 3-0 T20I series sweep of Pakistan when they toured the country last month, something that should be giving them confidence.

Muralitharan agreed that youngsters like Kusal Mendis, Oshada Fernando and Niroshan Dickwella are capable of turning the heat on the opposition. But they need to perform as a team, he emphasised.

“The current team does have some good, talented cricketers, but they haven’t performed as a team. That’s the problem.

“The players, the coach and the cricket board need to look into it and help them play as a team.”

The return of Angelo Mathews — he last played a T20I in August 2018 — is one positive for Sri Lanka, Muralithran agreed.